Q&A or forum - what’s the difference?

Posted by on April 6, 2009

When trying to describe a social question and answers system I frequently have to compare it to a forum. Forums have existed longer so they are more wellknown and I’m often asked what Q&A software can offer that a forum can’t. This post will go through the main traits that makes Q&A systems different from forums.

Both Q&A systems and forums are oriented towards people asking, answering, commenting and discussing online, but there are some key points that I think are important to describe how the Q&A system differs from a classic forum.

To sum it up question and answers systems -

  • are focused on problem solving
  • motivates through a point system
  • more userfriendly

Focused on problem solving

Where a normal forum lends itself to long discussions and exchange of opinions the Q&A system is more focused on solving problems.

On social Q&A sites the user who asks a question has a problem that needs a solution and the users who responds are other users with an expertise to help solve that problem. The answers are rated, the best get rewarded and for future users it’s easy to see what the solution to the problem was, since the best answer is highlighted. And when the solution has been reached the question is closed. There is also a race to get first with the right answer, since the first correct solution is normally the one rewarded.

So for users that are looking to solve an issue, Q&A systems are an excellent tool for doing that.

Motivates through a point system

A key difference is the point system that Q&A systems utilize. There are different versions of this, but the point systems enables subject matter experts to be rewarded within their fields of expertise. Whereas in a classic forum the only way of measuring a user is by his activity (how many posts he has made or how old his membership is), a Q&A system allows the experts to gain points based on the quality of their contributions.

An expert on a Q&A site is able to earn points by answering questions quickly and correctly and since the questions are associated with specific categories, so the expert gains category specific points that can be used as a measurement of the experts knowledge and ability to share it.

And where the classic forum is based mostly on altruism and the users wanting to be part of a community, the Q&A system introduces a gaming element to knowledge sharing. Through leaderboards (general, category specific, period specific etc.) and different levels that can be achieved the experts compete against each other and gain public prestige and measurable proof of their knowledge.

Q&A software is more user friendly

funcion higado aparato digestivo wikipedia

  • aparelho humano anatomia
  • aparato definicion sus partes
  • But what a store of beautiful explanations and consequences such an idea offers us.


  • dimensiones organos sistema digestivo
  • The message claims to include the specifications for something that will disrupt the gateways. It was my fault they had a chance to get you at all, he said.

    semana brasileira do aparelho digestivo 2011

    wawasana digestivo tea

    sistema digestivo definicion partes
    sistema digestivo enfermedades
    capas paredes tubo digestivo

  • aparato de las aves granivoras
  • sistema imagenes sus nombres
  • partes aparato digestivo definicion
    sistema imagenes en movimiento
  • aparato digestivo de la vaca wikipedia
  • tubo digestivo que es
  • mamiferos rumiantes sistema digestivo
  • glandulas digestivas anexas tubo digestivo
  • definiciones organos aparato digestivo
  • Then the more foolish or more hopeful said: His army is destroyed, and now at last he sees wisdom and is going back whence he came. And the baboons arose from worshipping, smoother about the face and a little shorter in the arms, and went away and hid their bodies in clothing, and afterwards galloped away from the rocky shore and went and herded with men.


  • sistema nervioso parasimpatico sistema digestivo
  • sistema digestivo del cuerpo humano para ninos
  • funciones higado pancreas sistema digestivo

  • With an area of thirty-two billion square kilometers, nine tenths of it under water, hundreds of millions of square kilometers of land churned in apparently useless turmoil. He had a big chain on and a wife with yellow hair, wearing royal blue with frills.
  • sistema digestivo definicion de cada organo

  • sistema digestivo imagenes grandes
  • enfermedades y tratamientos naturales del sistema digestivo
  • estudio morfologico del sistema digestivo
  • Aunt Trudi was well and both the girls were married now. Further I will tell you that while we had the right good will to harass them handsomely, it was not we who really did the job.
  • powerpoint aparelho digestivo 3o ano

  • sistema digestivo rumiantes wikipedia
  • cuales son las partes y funciones del sistema digestivo humano
  • funcion vesicula biliar sistema digestivo yahoo
  • aparato digestivo enfermedades
  • longitud del tubo digestivo
  • aparato digestivo enfermedades prevencion
  • definicion hemorragia tubo digestivo alto

    anatomia aparelho das aves

  • aparato de la vaca a color
  • aparato digestivo de las aves dibujo

  • sistema digestivo definicion funcion
  • dimensiones organos sistema

  • que es sangrado de tubo
  • funcion del pancreas el sistema digestivo
  • exercicios de ciencias 6 ano sistema digestivo
  • aparelho digestivo 3o ano fichas
    los rumiantes sistema digestivo

    aparelho digestivo 3o ano imagens

    preparare canarino digestivo

    cuerpo humano sistema fotos

    aparato digestivo de la vaca imagen

    sistema digestivo de rumiantes y aves

  • I believe it is time we convince our visitors of how well we have done here, without their help.
  • clinica do aparelho goiania

    aparato digestivo accion quimica mecanica
  • sistema digestivo del humano
  • Now this is a very bold statement since there are so many types of forums and Q&A systems and generalizing will not do justice to all. But there is a tendency for Q&A systems to be easier to use and understand for an inexperienced user.

  • aparato digestivo mamiferos rumiantes
  • sistema de rumiantes resumen
  • sistema digestivo enfermedades afectan
  • organos accesorios auxiliares sistema digestivo
  • dibujo sistema digestivo lombriz

    sangrado de tubo digestivo alto

    sistema digestivo aves rumiantes

    que es sangrado de tubo alto

    sistema ingestion digestion absorcion egestion
    sistema digestivo bolo alimenticio quimo quilo

    sintomas transito lento digestivo

    The head looked round at the infinite vastness of the sea. A curious warmth spread from his upper arm through his body with remarkable speed.

    los rumiantes aparato digestivo

  • This off-and-on, undiagnosable condition of his-- She reached a decision. Let me drink so I can forget every damned thing you've told us, let me drink!
  • funcion del pancreas en el aparato digestivo yahoo

  • definicion hemorragia tubo alto

    organos del sistema digestivo humano y sus funciones

    aparelho digestivo anatomia
  • If the opium is given up and destroyed, anyone with cargoes of opium outside of Canton will make a fortune, Mary said.

  • Ive studied many freedom fighters in my time, including your own Major Kira, and he does not fit the bill. Here the racist image ties in with Lionel Merble's vulgar songs and the execution of the Pole for interracial sex.
  • funcion del apendice en el sistema digestivo
  • sistema vaca 4 estomagos
  • semana brasileira do aparelho digestivo porto alegre

    semana brasileira do aparelho digestivo de 2011

    sistema digestivo y excretor de los anfibios

    que funcion tiene el intestino delgado en el aparato digestivo
  • sistema imagenes
  • sistema digestivo de la vaca wikipedia
  • profesor en linea sistema digestivo
  • sistema humano

    Trask gave a small start then thought about it, shrugged, and said, And so it should be, if it's the vantage point that you say it is.

    dibujo aparato digestivo femenino

    resumo anatomia aparelho digestivo

    semana brasileira do aparelho digestivo porto alegre

    partes del cuerpo humano sistema digestivo

    aparato digestivo de la vaca lechera
  • A time of ceremony, of passing power from the original clan home to the new.
  • que funcion tiene el esofago en el aparato digestivo
    anatomia do aparelho digestivo
  • digestion celulosa sistema digestivo rumiantes
  • longitud aproximada tubo digestivo
  • funciones del sistema wikipedia

  • The concept itself is easier to understand. You want to ask a question, not start a topic, or you can propose solutions, not argue your opinion. If you’re happy with an answer, you give it a thumbs up, if not a thumbs down. It’s simple to understand, both for person with a problem and future users with the same problem.

    sistema de la vaca imagenes

  • funciones de la vesicula biliar en el sistema digestivo
  • tubo humano wikipedia
  • organizacion sistema digestivo humano

    aparato digestivo enfermedades no infecciosas
  • spot radio digestivo antonetto
  • junior jogos aparelho digestivo
  • sangrado de tubo digestivo alto
  • x sbad semana brasileira do aparelho

    estudios radiologicos sistema

    definicion partes sistema digestivo peces

    When he got to the papers, everyone crowded around to look at them.

  • imagenes aparato femenino
  • organos y funciones del sistema digestivo humano
    sistema digestivo imagenes sus partes
    el sistema del cuerpo humano

    aparato digestivo enfermedades prevencion

    medicos especialistas aparato zaragoza

    definicion partes sistema digestivo pez

    enfermedades del sistema digestivo humano

  • que es el tubo digestivo wikipedia
  • el sistema definicion

    sistema digestivo imagenes sus partes

    sistema digestivo del cuerpo humano para ninos
    diferencias sistema digestivo aves y mamiferos
    dibujo sistema digestivo ser humano sus partes
  • semana brasileira do aparelho digestivo 2011
  • ix semana brasileira do aparelho digestivo sbad

    So he sat and surveyed the visitor with a resentful scowl.

    clinica do aparelho digestivo goiania

    The two pilots had been reluctant to accept them as passengers, but Schmeissers are powerfully persuasive agents. When you left today I kept thinking you'd come back drunk, or you'd finally be stupid enough to drive when you'd been drinking and kill yourself.

    ganglios linfaticos sistema digestivo

    aparato digestivo femenino masculino

    testes ciencias 9 ano sistema

    aparato enfermedades

    tubo digestivo alto enfermedades

  • sistema digestivo fisiologia
  • que es el tubo digestivo humano
  • x sbad semana brasileira do aparelho digestivo
  • definicion hemorragia tubo digestivo

  • enfermedades mas frecuentes sistema hombre
  • jogos do aparelho digestivo
  • And since best answers are highlighted, the question has a status that indicates whether it’s been solved or not and since there is no paging or threaded discussions, it’s easier especially for future users to reuse the information given. There is no landing from a search engine on the sixth page of a discussion, where you have to read through all the other pages before you understand what has been discussed and where the offspring topics distract you from what you were looking for.

    Depends on the purpose - and your budget

    I will not argue that Q&A software is better than a forum in all cases. But if your subject matter is focused on issues that can be measured as solved or not I definitely think that a Q&A system is a better solution. On the other hand if you want your users to engage in discussions or exchange ideas a forum will serve your needs better.

    And of course there is an economic side to take into account as well. In general there are many more forum products available on the market (from open source to expensive proprietary solutions) so this gives you more choice and room to get something that fits your needs. But as Q&A software is being more and more demanded, solutions are coming up from pretty cheap downloadable software packages to more expensive, customized and scalable solutions with accompanying support and maintenance plans. If you can do with a standard product you can definitely find something easily available, and if you need a personalized solution you should just make sure that your provider or own development team has the expertise and time to give you that.

  • aparato digestivo de rumiantes
  • partes y funciones del sistema
  • aparato enfermedades
  • definicion aparato digestivo rumiantes

  • aparelho digestivo das aves ppt

    sistema digestivo em portugues

  • sistema imagenes en movimiento
  • principales funciones del sistema digestivo yahoo
    definicion partes sistema pez
    anatomia aparelho digestivo suinos
  • exercicios de ciencias 9 ano sistema digestivo
  • testes ciencias natureza 6 ano sistema digestivo

    Putting one foot before the other with wooden doggedness, she went forward. The commotion caused the circle of eyes to shift restlessly for a moment and even to withdraw a bit, but it settled down again as the dogs became quiet.
  • aparelho digestivo humano powerpoint
  • dibujo sistema digestivo lombriz intestinal

    aparato digestivo enfermedades-yahoo

  • The rat turds crunched when you walked across the room, like rice at a wedding.
  • aparelho digestivo das aves

    funcion del higado en el aparato digestivo wikipedia

    dibujo del sistema digestivo y sus partes

    sistema digestivo enfermedades

    animales rumiantes sistema

    digestion gastrica aparato digestivo

    sistema digestivo animales invertebrados wikipedia
  • partes del tubo humano
  • funcion del apendice en el aparato digestivo

  • remedios para el mal aliento digestivo
  • estructura histologica paredes tubo
  • fisiologia del sistema de rumiantes
  • sistema digestivo de la vaca y sus funciones
  • definicion del tubo
  • funcionan juntos sistemas respiratorio digestivo
    funcion cumple traquea sistema
  • adaptaciones al vuelo digestivo de las aves
  • funcion del intestino delgado y grueso en el aparato digestivo
    definicion sangrado tubo digestivo alto
    partes aparelho digestivo corpo humano
    My own company, Lumin Creative, does sell several different types of Q&A solutions and you’re welcome to contact us if this has your interest.